Women’s cross country excels at pre-national meet

David Kramer

The Washington University men’s and women’s cross country teams finished strong at the Pre-Nationals on Friday, Sept. 22 in West Chester, Ohio. The site of the race was Voice of America Park, which will be the site of the NCAA Championships on Nov. 18. Teams from around the nation participated in both races.

The women’s team, ranked second in the nation, finished second behind the number one ranked and defending national champion SUNY Geneseo squad.

Junior Kate Pentak led the way for the Bears by placing fifth with a time of 22:20.06. This was the first time in Pentak’s career as a Bear that she finished first among her teammates in a race. Pentak was followed closely by classmate Tyler Mulkin, who finished seventh overall with a time of 22:25.21.

Although SUNY Geneseo finished 33 points ahead of the women’s team, the Bears were without one of their best runners, Tricia Frisella.

“Hopefully we can close the gap by the next time we race them. Also, many of our freshmen had great races and it is great to see their talent emerging, so I am very excited to see how much they improve as the season progresses,” said Pentak.

“Our plan for the rest of the season consists of getting more fitness and continually [getting] faster with each race. If we all continue to improve, we have a shot at the title,” said Mulkin.

After a great start a few weeks ago, the men’s cross country team came into the meet ranked 24th in the country.

In the Pre-National race, the Bears were lead by junior Jesse McDaniel, who finished in 21st place in a race that featured 210 runners from around the country. Out of the 16 teams competing in the event, the Bears placed seventh.

“We didn’t run two of our top five guys, so our seventh place finish overall wasn’t really indicative of where we are at. It was a good start to the season but all that matters is how we’re running in November,” said McDaniel.

The goal for this year’s men’s team is to qualify for nationals as a team. As the results show, there is plenty of room for improvement during the remainder of the season.

“I think everybody feels like they can improve from this meet, which is exactly how you want to feel coming off the first 8k race. If someone runs outstandingly, that’s great, but then it’s tough for the following meets because it’s hard to match that performance,” said McDaniel.

Both the men and women will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Border Wars in Edwardsville, Ill.

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